Wash U Doing Weekly Log
Note: From the week of January 27th to the week of February 17th, the group was pursuing a different project. The entries from the week of March 3rd and beyond reflect our work on our most recent project.
Week January 27th
In the first week, we formed our group of three members: Kristine Ehlinger, Carol Pazos, and Dylan Zubata. We decided to focus our project on creating an app that optimizes the walking distance across Wash U's campus.
Week February 3rd
This week we discussed the details of our project as we created our first Project Proposal. We met with our TA on Thursday and made various decisions about our project including: dividing the work, the programming language we plan to use, the resources we need for our project, and a project timeline.
Week February 10th
This week we began familiarizing ourselves with the ArcGIS tool and contacted the GIS department to discuss full features of ArcGIS. We also mapped out all of the destinations we intend to include in the app.
Week February 17th
After discussing with WUSTL employees, our group is waiting to be granted permission to use the WUSTL ArcGIS subscription. We also continued to annotate our map of Wash U's campus on ArcGIS and did further research into the optimization of our pathways. Specifically, we found an archive that describes how to "Find a Route," which can be utilized with our map.
Week February 24th
Permission has been granted to use WUSTL's ArcGIS subscription. ArcGIS's AppStudio has been downloaded to assist in incorporating our map into our app. We're currently trying to figure out the basics of AppStudio while other team members continue working on the map.
Week March 3rd
All: After reevaluating our initial proposal, we decided to look at new options for a project. We discussed a few different ideas, wrote mock proposals, and met with Natalie on Monday, February 27th. On Tuesday, we cemented our new idea: a platform to display events around campus. This website will be used by both students and organizations with an interactive map. On Thursday, we had our first evaluation, after which we used our notes to create a better understanding of our objectives for the website.
Kristine: This week, I investigated the functions of Amazon Web Services and how to set up a website. This process involved creating various trials of instances, purchasing the domain name "www.washudoing.com," and linking the domain name with website IP address. I also created the initial index code needed to demonstrate the website's functionality.
Challenge: Learn how to create a functional domain
Solution: I discovered that using AWS I could establish an instance that connects to the elastic IP address associated with our domain name.
Carol: Renamed project page and weekly log page to reflect progress on new project, started labeling locations within the WUSTL campus on google maps, created test html code. In the process of trying to link event data with location "pop-up" descriptor.
Dylan: Updated Gantt Chart with individual job assignments, assured this and all future weekly logs are updated on time, came up with apt site name: "WashUDoing," began researching how to implement filters.
Week March 10th
All: We had a group meeting on Sunday to discuss the progress of our project and make decisions like whether to use ArcGIS or Google maps, how we want the website to look, etc.
Challenge: Figuring out which platforms best suit our goals
Solution: We ended up using the ArcGIS map because it had an embed function that was easily implemented into our html website code.
Kristine: Based on my goals for the project, I looked for source code for a login page, created a DB in DBDynamo to store username and password data, watched a video about coding a login page, and reviewed with source code from websites like ArcGIS and WashU's universal login.
Carol: Added drop down menu for locations. In the process of using WUGO's source code to show events based on its relevance according to location.
Dylan: Continued research on HTML and finding source code. Began deciding on which filters to include on the site. Intend to include filters similar to those found on WUGO.
Week March 17th
All: Spring break
Kristine: My goal for this week included creating the initial code for the event creator page on our website. To do so, I found source code for specific parts of a website such as drop-boxes, learned from existing websites like BlackBoard, the WUSTL login page, etc. as to how to store and display our information, contacted an AWS user/ professional for putting together SQL and linking the information input, the database, and the website output. I referenced our list of locations around campus and decided which information to ask for including name of event, group posting, date, time, location, description, and the possibility of a series of tag topics (academic, free food, etc.)
Challenge: I have little experience with coding and databases
Solution: As has been said, “Google is your best friend.” I have looked through lots of resources online to familiarize myself with what my goal is and how to approach it. I also looked for guidance from a professional to help bridge the connection between reading information to the execution.
Week March 24th
Kristine and Dylan: Met together to reevaluate project and create new Gantt chart
Challenge: Break our project down to its core and establish what we can get done
Solution: From our initial proposal, we realized that we would only be able to complete the core of our project. We defined our new goals based on what functionality was most important: a user interface that allows the input and access of data along with a developed database for that information. Every other part was deemed “extra functionality” that would enhance the user experience but was not necessary. From there, we decided to attack this project in two parts. Dylan is taking on the front end in which he has been coding in HTML and working on the look and first impression of the site. Kristine is working with the back end: how to data is inputted into a database, how it is stored and accessed, and how it will be displayed on the website.
Kristine: This week, I re-evaluated what was possible to achieve for the project: creating at least two pieces of the project including the user-interface as we would like it to look and the beginnings of the SQL database with limited functionality based on the time given. From my discussions with the AWS/ SQL professional, I downloaded SQL, SQL workbench, and php on my laptop.
Challenge: Learn how to use PHP and MySQL
Solution: Given the advice from my contact, I chose to watch a series of PHP tutorial videos and follow the code from a tutorial to create a MySQL forum I found online. These resources have been very helpful in developing the initial PHP code and identifying each step that I need to link using PHP code. This is how I have developed my solution (set of steps) to achieve my goal.
Dylan: Basically created the entire home page without links connecting within. Implemented header. Implemented calendar. Implemented checklist of filters. Ensured the two are seen side by side for aesthetic. Implemented option to create event that needs hyperlink. Embedded previously created map via arcGIS. See project wiki for screenshot of progress as of March 23rd.
Week March 31st
Kristine: In order to create a functional website, I have begun familiarizing myself with the capabilities of mySQL and PHPMyAdmin. After downloading the software, I created a local host server (on my personal laptop) to begin creating the PHP that runs queries to and from the website and the SQL server on my laptop. The first step I did was figure out what data we want to store from our website: information about events including name, date, time, location, etc. I created an SQL table called "eventinfo" and am creating PHP to add and read information from that server. I have been following various tutorials to put together an input.php (the 'POST' function from the submit button on the website) and the read.php (the output to the website in the form of a forum).
Dylan: Made event creation page and home page available under the same domain name (www.washudoing.com/event%20creation.html and www.washudoing.com, respectively). Began familiarizing myself with HTML and linking one site to another. In the process of linking event creation page from the home page when clicking on the button "Create an event".
Week April 7th
Kristine: This week, my main focus has been testing my php code. I chose to install XAMPP in order to access documents on my local host (my laptop), which is the current scope for my work. This means that inputting data into the website is only functioning off my computer and I made this decision because it is much easier to control something internally (on a laptop) than to push it into the cloud and ensure it works perfectly. I have created and am debugging two main php documents: input.php (which connects the event creation html and the input from a group to SQL) and read.php (which selects specific data in the SQL table to display on the website). Right now, the read.php is coded so as to create an html table that displays all of the data input from the SQL table. Given time, I will try to enhance this aspect of the project.
Challenge: Debug my PHP code
Solution: I have developed my initial code and have been testing it on my localhost to find bugs. I have tried to fix them to the best of my knowledge and have reviewed it with the professional to ensure that it works.
Challenge to be addressed: Push my database into AWS and upload PHP code that gives the functionality to the site
Dylan: I linked the event creation page onto the home page so that organizations could progress from one page to the other. I added links to the different filters so that users can click a filter and the site scrolls down to that filter where the lists of events would reside, similar to Wikipedia.
My objective for this upcoming week will be to make the locations option and the drop down filters menu function properly on the event creation page.
Another objective for this upcoming week will be to use .htaccess to redirect the homepage correctly for ease of use.
Week April 14th
Kristine: Following our discussion during the second evaluation, I have been following tutorials to install PuTTY on my laptop, connect to my instance using this software, and download LAMP into our instance on AWS. For the most part, I have been able to follow these directions, but I had a few issues finding the correct directions to follow and with PuTTYgen which restructured our washudoing pem file into a readable format in PuTTY. I was able to figure out the specifics necessary to get PuTTY to work. I have also brushed up on code to connect to MySQL, insert into and read SQL tables, and use mixed html and php code by watching tutorials online. This is helpful so that I can formulate a plan of how to edit my PHP code to do what we need for our site. My main issue this week has been with successfully connecting phpMyAdmin on the ec2 instance. Because I have not found a successful solution, I decided to work on the PHP code necessary to display the results of our SQL queries on our website and have scheduled a meeting with Humberto for Friday the 14th. I put the index code together but cannot test run it until phpMyAdmin is functional.
Dylan: I added functionality to the location and filter drop down menus in the event creation page. I also adjusted the desired url so that anyone who types "washudoing.com" or "www.washudoing.com" will be redirected to the main page (index.html), which was a recurring problem in our project.
Spent the rest of this and next week improving the aesthetic of both the home page and the event creation page.
Week April 21st
Kristine: This week has had both its ups and downs by going from one issue to another. Fortunately, I was able to overcome two major issues by seeking out help/ advice including repeat downloads of phpMyAdmin and security restrictions hindering my access to my database. After many hours, I have the basic framework of a website that communicates with my database. Also, in searching for my error, I have enhanced my PHP code and uploaded it into PuTTY. Now, I need to transfer the full code to the file that is properly communicating with the database. I also met with Dylan on Thursday to discuss the content of our demo poster.
Dylan: I finished deciding what the site will look like in terms of aesthetic. Narrowed down what will be on the final poster. Compiled all information for final poster onto one display.
Will spend next few days finishing up the poster with Kristine.
Week April 28th
Kristine: This week was all about finishing the last bits of our project, mainly the final report. In doing so, I helped by updating the proposal on the wiki, creating a new Gantt chart, shutting down the website through AWS, finalizing our budget, creating a How to test run files our your local host, and contributing information on AWS, PHP, and MySQL to the Design/ Solutions and Results portion of the final report.
Dylan: I completed and printed the entire poster. I made final touches on the aesthetic of the site. I wrote the information on the final report concerning the coding of the home page and event creator page. I created a HowTo on trial and error of HTML code using the w3schools.